Lila & Eve

tn_lilaandeveI had to give LILA & EVE a shot because of my love of different types of vigilante revenge movies. In this one the titleational duo are two women (Viola Davis [from the JESSE STONE movies] as Lila, Jennifer Lopez as Eve) who meet in a support group for mothers of murdered children and decide to ignore the group’s core principle of learning to accept what you can’t change.

Like Neil Jordan’s THE BRAVE ONE with Jodie Foster, this tries to lean harder on the respectable drama side than the satisfying DEATH WISH one. Lila’s son was killed in a drive-by shooting, most likely not meant for him. When she waits around all day to talk to the detective in charge (Shea Whigham, FAST & FURIOUS) he doesn’t even recognize her. They discuss the lack of progress in front of a picture of a dead white cheerleader who has her own task force.

But Eve won’t have it. She pushes Lila to go out to the block where it happened, find the criminals that work there, question them, work their way up the ladder until they find who did it. During their first parking lot confrontation the guy pulls a gun and Eve shoots him. Now they’re killers. She takes his phone and uses what she finds on it for further detective work.

I’ve been pro-Jennifer Lopez (ANACONDA) for life since OUT OF SIGHT, but I’m afraid she’s the weak link in this cast. She’s supposed to be kind of a flashy, trashy character, so she wears fur coats and enormous turtlenecks. She’s allowed/made to have wrinkles, which is new for her I think. But she acts in kind of a hammy style at odds with everybody else’s naturalism. That it turns out to have a thematic purpose doesn’t change that it’s kinda grating.

mp_lilaandeveDavis (LAW ABIDING CITIZEN), on the other hand, is better than the movie probly deserves. It’s a real performance of suppressed anger, bursts of grief, desperate pill-popping, taking things out on the wrong people. She’s real enough that I worried about the consequences of her actions, from alienating her bright, smiley, surviving son (Ron Caldwell) to getting busted for murder. There’s a very uncomfortable moment when she goes to the funeral of one of the people she killed to find out who he was connected to, and sees the grieving mother. Worse, the lady ends up at their support group. They’re creating new members.

I really like Whigham, and by the way I rewatched THE BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS recently, and I don’t know if you remember but he has a fairly small part as a john that gets ripped off by the bad lieutenant and then rants about how well-connected he is and what a big mistake this is. Anyway, he keeps saying “ooooh yeah” in a funny way and it occurred to me this time that he was basing his character partly on Macho Man Randy Savage. So I thought you all should know.

Anyway, Whigham is really good here in that way he usually is. He’s gruff and cynical and seems more likely to catch these vigilantes than the killer who set them off, but you can still respect him because we see him see through the bullshit and disapprove. He has integrity.

So, it’s not the main point of the movie, but there’s a good illustration here for the people who have shown themselves not to understand what institutional racism is. “The people upstairs” suddenly pay more attention to their investigation after a white kid moonlighting as a drug dealer dies in one of these Lila & Eve confrontations. “How’s the Bradley Tipton case coming?” asks his partner, played by Andre Royo. Whigham seems offended that now they give a shit. Royo doesn’t care, he just wants an impressive case for his career. So a white guy can be a good guy, a black guy can be a bad guy, nobody involved needs to be a KKK member or intend anything bigoted, yet the system still works in such a way that it treats white people as more important than black people. That’s what “black lives matter” means, you silly heads. Not “black lives matter more than white ones, you racists” as some oddly defensive people seem to read it, but “this system needs to stop treating black lives as unimportant.”

I wish the resolution of the story of LILA & EVE was as interesting as all that. I started to hope there’d be some crazy shit where it turns out Eve isn’t even really a grieving mother. She’s just a psycho, or she’s manipulating Lila for her own purposes or something. But the real twist you start suspecting and hoping you’re gonna be wrong about, but you’re not. SPOILER: Eve doesn’t exist, she’s only in Lila’s head, Lila is actually doing all this shit. The FIGHT CLUB twist. The funny thing is there was a recent, quite good TV series I won’t name because it would be a spoiler to say that it did the same thing, with the same “oh no, I hope they’re not going where I think they’re going” sinking feeling stretching across multiple episodes. I guess that’s the statute of limitations on copping famous plot twists, then. We should have some “he was a ghost the whole time”s coming up then too. Oh well.

Director Charles Stone III did two movies I enjoyed, DRUMLINE and PAID IN FULL, plus a couple others and then some TV episodes. His last one before this was that TV movie CRAZYSEXYCOOL: THE TLC STORY. But he’s actually best known for creating and starring in the “Whassuuuppp” Budweiser commercials.

These days we hear an awful lot about needing more diverse representation both in front of and behind the camera in media. I absolutely agree and I think although it may seem overblown sometimes the constant vigilance and daily controversies actually might make some kind of a difference. But it’s frustrating, because it’s more complicated than just shaming every movie that has all white people in it. Here we have LILA & EVE, a movie centered around two women, one black and one Latina, from a black director. That’s what everybody says they’re looking for, right? So they made it and did anyone give a shit? If mostly just a guy who’s a little too into DTV and vigilante movies bothers to find out a movie existed it can’t be a very good business model. Movies are expensive.

Oh yeah, I just wanted it to exist, I wasn’t ever gonna support it with my money. See ya.

Lately the dirty looks are aimed at the Oscars, which Jada Pinkett Smith, Spike Lee and others have said they’re skipping because for the second year in a row all the acting nominees are white. I have to admit at first I fell into the trap of our tweets & headlines culture: seeing references to it, making kneejerk assumptions, not really understanding. Because Jada, your husband’s movie was not very well reviewed, and he already has twice as many nominations as Tom Hardy (two) and the same amount of wins as DiCaprio (zero). This just isn’t his year. And Spike, no way a weird movie like CHI-RAQ is gonna get nominations, and anyway it was criticized by more than one black writer as some bullshit that only white people would support. So it’s irrelevant in this argument.

But of course that’s not the issue here. Their arguments are correct and Spike at least is not even talking about his personal stake in the matter. His actual statement about it is very good (except for being written with every word capitalized for some reason). He acknowledges black Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs, telecast host Chris Rock and producer Reginald Hudlin, and that they gave him a special award this year (in part, it’s hard not to think, to make up for that bit of trivia that DRIVING MISS DAISY won best picture the year DO THE RIGHT THING wasn’t even nominated). But he personally can’t sit there and celebrate when he feels black actors are consistently being left out, and you can’t fault him for that.

Now it’s sad because interviewers are asking all the actors about it, and of course somebody’s gotta say something stupid. Offender #1 is best actress nominee for 45 YEARS Charlotte Rampling (ORCA), whose initial answer came off as unenlightened to put it mildly. But I have some sympathy for her because here she is, a great, accomplished actress in an industry that still treats women, especially mature women, poorly. And she had the rare opportunity of a meaty role for a 69 year old woman, did work she must’ve been proud of, and is being honored for it. And it’s implicit in these questions that maybe she didn’t deserve it, she just got it because it’s a racist award. If you’re in that position and you’re an old British lady who hasn’t had to put much thought into racial issues you won’t be at your most eloquent. So I don’t think it’s too charitable to accept her “clarification” as an accurate explanation of how she really feels.

(Did I bring Rampling up because she’s relevant or because I wanted to mention ORCA? We’ll never know.)

Anyway, the brouhaha about all this was a good thing because it already pushed Isaacs, in an attempt to save the reputation of the organization, to adopt new rules for the Academy next year, designed to shift the demographics of the voting body to something more representative of the world, and less of an entrenched old boys network. Academy members will be able to vote for ten years, but if they aren’t active during that decade they might lose the privilege unless they worked across three decades or were nominated for an Oscar.

(By the way when I say “the Academy” I’m talking about the Academy of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences, not the Police Academy movie series, which has always been pretty diverse.)

The sudden change has pissed off some members, and this Hollywood Reporter article is thought provoking because I think it does make some persuasive arguments painting this as ageism, and a way of abandoning our accomplished elders to appeal to the shitty tastes of our young “hoverboard” riding future idiocratic overlords.

But I’m haunted by that last story about Dolores Hart, who co-starred with Elvis in KING CREOLE and has been an Academy member since 1960 but has spent most of that time as a nun. It’s sad and I feel bad for her for apparently being pushed out, but then there’s the part about “She said she is not sure she’ll continue to watch films ‘if I have no way to offer a comment about them… Why would you sit for all of those hours if you have no say in anything?'”

And I mean no disrespect to the lady, but maybe if there are other 77 year old nuns who wouldn’t watch movies if they couldn’t vote on the Oscars then that could be the problem. Not the one about diversity, necessarily, but the one about how forever the Oscars have been too artistically timid and conservative. Every time a GOODFELLAS or a PULP FICTION or a (I’m afraid to say) MAD MAX: FURY ROAD doesn’t win we blame these mysterious old, conservative Academy members who supposedly dominate the awards. If that’s true then we gotta step on a few toes and then stop taking it for granted that the awards always suck. What if the Oscars, in addition to not being “so white,” were on the side of history more often than not? What if there were more UNFORGIVEN best pictures and less CRASHes?

But young people, when you take over, just promise me you won’t nominate a fuckin Vine or an iPhone app or something.

I think Isaacs is correct in her statement’s implication that the problem comes from the industry itself more than the particular awards, for not providing enough opportunity for actors of color to have good roles. The whiteness of the nominees would be more shocking if there was a longer list of performances that should’ve been nominated. Last year it was suspicious that SELMA director Ava DuVernay and star David Oyelowo weren’t nominated, and in my opinion it was crazy that nobody talked about Chadwick Boseman for GET ON UP. But I can’t get anybody to watch that movie anyway. They don’t know what they’re missing.

This year I’ve seen everybody pointing to STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON. When it was released all I heard about was understandable criticism of it not addressing Dre physically abusing women. Now we’re all letting that go so we can angry that it doesn’t get all the awards? I don’t know that that’s fair.

(And do we really want our cherished World’s Most Dangerous Group to get that kind of acceptance from the establishment? It’s surreal to be considering this question.)

CREED is a much stronger argument for a snub. It’s my second favorite movie of the year and I have been evangelical about it. But is it naive white privilege that makes me think it never had much of a chance not because of anything racial, but because it’s CREED? ROCKY won best picture but that was forty god damn years ago. How many straight sports movies have been Oscar contenders in recent decades? I don’t think anybody talked about it for II, III, IV, V or the actually-might-deserve-it ROCKY BALBOA. This is not the type of movie that gets nominations anymore, and if it was it wouldn’t help that it’s part 7. And as much as I absolutely believe Ryan Coogler deserved a nomination (along with his white but female cinematographer) it’s hard to get one of those. Even the president of white people Ben Affleck didn’t get one when his movie won best picture. It happens.

I guess what I’m saying is that even if we ever have a year where every nominee is black I bet you money they would still pick the cheesiest most middle-of-the-road of the bunch and not even nominate some amazing ones. Until we can improve the awards overall the real crime is not that CREED was snubbed but that there aren’t more movies like CREED to be snubbed.

p.s. Some have used Stallone’s best supporting actor nomination for CREED as further ammunition against Hollywood, since it’s a movie with a black director, writer and star but they nominated a white person for it. There was a really funny SNL skit about that too. Okay, I get it, but can we also acknowledge that the genius director Coogler wanted to make a movie about Rocky, convinced Stallone to do it, wrote the role, directed the performance? It would not exist without him and would not be so great without him, as could be said of many directors behind Oscar winning actors. Don’t tell me Tarantino doesn’t take some credit for Christoph Waltz’s improbable two supporting actor Oscars. I’m not saying the nomination absolves anything, but it’s not a bad thing either. Let’s not dismiss this as a well deserved honor for Coogler and the whole team along with Stallone who, yes, did a great job.

Furthermore, if you’re against the lack of opportunity in Hollywood then maybe don’t make a bad guy out of the white dude who handed the keys of his beloved series (previously written only by him and directed only by him and one other person) to a young black director and writer with only one small movie under their belts. He believed in Coogler enough to bring his most famous character back after a perfect ending and use him as a supporting character to Michael B. Jordan. Who else would do that?

So don’t take it out on him. I guarantee you he voted for Coogler and Jordan.

p.p.s. Sometimes I feel like I’m turning into Archie Bunker as I get older and the world evolves faster than my liberal sensibilities. I don’t want to be that so if I’m missing the point here please help me learn. Just be nice about it. We’re all friends here.

This entry was posted on Monday, January 25th, 2016 at 12:15 pm and is filed under Drama, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

28 Responses to “Lila & Eve”

  1. What I worry about is that the Oscar’s are going to turn into the Grammy’s. I really don’t want the Best Picture Oscar go to the movie equivalent of a Taylor Swift album. I love that the Best Picture nominees will still often go to the smaller art house film that a small minority saw that actually deserve to be nominated that the Grammy’s don’t seem to nominate for Album of the Year anymore.

  2. That would be terrible. Do you think the new rules would make that more likely?

  3. See, this is why it’s sometimes a good idea to read the review of a film you haven’t yet seen (or, in this case, heard of).

    Excellent points as always, Vern. I haven’t read much about this series of controversies because it’s clearly devolved into the typical partisan shouting match that ruins just about everything in this country. I just don’t have the heart to keep subjecting myself to it. In that vein, I strongly suggest NOT looking at the comments in the Hollywood Reporter article you linked.

    Too bad about the Durdening in the actual film. It sounds like a real waste of a typically good Viola Davis performance. The parallels you draw between people’s inability to grasp systemic racism and instead focus on individual’s acts and the Oscar controversy is spot-on. Obviously the threat of death and unjust incarceration is a bigger deal than the threat of the Fresh Prince never winning an Academy Award, but the roots of both go deep, and are more complex than the modern news media seem equipped to explore.

  4. Great, necessary post Vern.

    I hate all this hand-wringing over a pageant that most film-lovers know to be flawed.

    I don’t understand the continued relevance of the Oscars. No one gives as much of a shit about the Grammys, Emmys or Espys. For some reason the Oscars are scrutinized and idealized to a degree the others aren’t. Maybe it’s their longevity that lends them more cultural weight.

    But the whole thing is very silly when taken on its own terms. I think we’d be better off dismissing them than trying to fix them at this point.

  5. Sternshein – That would be scary. Especially since it’s a realistic notion. It will be sad if the days of people discovering smaller movies because they were nominated will be done with all together.

    But when I see my fellow POC on other forums talking about “the awards should go to the movies people know and not some indie movie with no marketing” I worry and shake my head at the same time because the academy might misinterpret what people really want and make things worse.

    I haven’t watched the oscars in 14 years but I will say this: if MY LEFT FOOT didn’t make such a big stink at the oscars when I was a kid I would’ve never watched IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER or THE BOXER and my youth would’ve been more poorer for it. Nor would I have ever watched THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION or LEAVING LAS VEGAS without all the attention the oscars brought to them. To deprive any future Broddie’s of the same courtesy would be some foul business.

  6. Yeah, many people act as if a few days before the nominees were announced, “The Academy” (Which of course consists only of racist, old, white men) looked at the results, erased everybody from the list who wasn’t white and then burned a cross at the Hollywood sign. I’m not saying that racism doesn’t exist anymore, but I think #OscarSoWhite happened really out of pure coincidence, based on unfortunately not many noteworthy films* and roles for non-white people and the complete randomness that takes place, when a few hundred people vote for something without coordinating each other. The only way to solve it might be a huge meetup among everybody who can vote (No exceptions allowed! You don’t show up, you are not allowed to vote!) and have them talk about all their favourite movies of the year, before they openly nominate whoever they think is right. And of course everybody gets the option to change his or her nomination one more time, if they feel like changing their mind forever.

    Random thought: I wonder how many black Academy members nominated white people and now feel bad about it.

    *Another name that keeps coming up this year, is Idris Elba for BEAST OF NO NATIONS, but I’m pretty sure this movie might have been ignored, because it’s technically a “TV” movie and many members thought they were not allowed to vote for it. And if it was ignored on purpose, then more likely because of a “Theatrical experience Vs streaming on your computer monitor” bias, instead of “We hate Idris Elba, because he is a N****”.

  7. The Academy needs to implement Field Day rules and give every movie that comes out “Participation” ribbons. It’s the only way to make everybody happy.

    Okay, seriously though, the system is flawed and ancient. I’ll give you that. It’s not solely the Academy’s fault. I think part of the problem is with the campaigning. I don’t think the studios lobbied hard enough for POC to get awards. Even if they did, I don’t think Smith or Elba generated enough pre-awards season buzz. I haven’t seen Concussion or Beasts… but I really wasn’t surprised they were snubbed. I think the biggest snub was Coogler for directing. I haven’t seen The Big Short so I can’t comment but I find it odd the director of Anchorman is now a Best Director nominee.

  8. ***Should have read POC to get nominated, not awards.

  9. Great article. Since I don’t watch TV much but think I’ll eventually get around to certain series (did Breaking Bad last summer/fall. It was pretty good.) I couldn’t resist googling around just to make sure this Tyler Durden twist didn’t show up in a series I’ve actually been intending to watch, like Deadwood or The Wire. Thankfully no.

  10. Crushinator Jones

    January 25th, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    It’s structural. Non-white performers don’t get offered good roles. When they do, they don’t get nominated as much.

    The changes should help, but there need to be better parts that non-white actors are considered for.

    Somebody needs to run the numbers and see if nominated non-white performers win the award more than white performers. I would be very curious because I can see that going either way.

  11. That cable show with the Tyler Durden twist was really really good though. I seriously can’t wait for it to return.

  12. As Crushinator said, it’s an issue with institutional racism that develops out of how the film industry and awards shows are structured. This means you can have racism without having anyone being explicitly racist. To change this, you need to do more on the production end. More films directed by people of color need to be made. You also need more voting members who are people of color. White males are often interested in films that reflect their experience, so they’re going to vote for those movies. They’re just not aware of his this subconscious bias hurts the film industry.

  13. It’s hard for me to support #oscarssowhite. Perhaps it’s b/c I’m so white or something. I’m not saying that facetiously. I really would like to be on the right side of history here, really. I think I don’t really understand a lot of the activism and slacktivism and words like whitesplaining and heteronormative and transphobic and stuff. I’m too Gen X and not enough millenial or something. You damn kids.

    I understand what these words mean, and I see where they often are useful in identifying legitimate things that warrant discourse, critique, and a reevaluation of our language and perspective. But so much of it seems bitchy and entitled and like it’s different rich and famous or at least middle class people arguing about first-world problems, or even 1% problems. Like, the people having these arguments and using these words are among the most privileged people in America, in the top 25%, 10%, or even 1% in terms of SES. #oscarsowhite seems like part of that more general trend of relatively privileged people just playing identity politics.

    (I felt the same about J Law and the pay gap though. If a film studio knows they will make money of J Law, and if she has a good agent, she can get what she’s worth or more. These studios are driven by profit. If they believe they can make a lot more money off JLaw than they have to spend on her, they will pay up to and exactly as much as they have to before it starts becoming a bad risk for them. If they can get J Law to do the job on the cheap or get someone else to do it on the cheap without it hurting their bottom line, they’ll do that, too. Keep in mind that, “the cheap” means millions. Blame her or her agent.)

    I’m not trying to squelch real activism, especially where we are talking about egregious injustice, oppressive laws, or just flagrant acts of evil or creepiness, or areas where real reforms are both needed and likely to be productive and where the way forward is clear. I’m just not sure this qualifies.

    But some of this, I just don’t know how to feel or what to think. I would like to better understand, because I would like to think I’m working on being less bigoted, but then I think the “don’t you tell me what to do or how to feel” kind of reacts negatively to efforts to arouse white guilt.

  14. caruso_stalker217

    January 25th, 2016 at 6:32 pm

    I find little reason to care about another biopic not getting nominated or another Rocky picture when a true gem like TANGERINE (my favorite film of 2015) was completely ignored.

    The Oscars are nothing more than a popularity contest where the Hollywood elite take turns jerking each other off. It’s just that no black people were invited to the circle jerk this year.

    In closing, Vern should probably review TANGERINE.

  15. What do you guys think of the stat that I keep seeing floating around that proportionally black actors get nominated about the same percentage of black Americans?

    Why is this even considered a big deal anyway? It mostly seems like sour grapes from Will Smith more. I can’t really believe Academy members are like “Fuck those black actors” and choose to make sure they only nominate white guys.

  16. I always find it interesting that when people complain about diversity they almost always are referring specifically to black people. Latinos, Asians and others tend to only get an “Oh yeah, them to” afterthought. I mean I understand why black people complain about black people being under-represented but white people tend to focus only on black under-representation as well, instead of complete diversity. I haven’t heard nearly as many people complaining about Oscar Isaac or Benicio Del Toro not being nominated. Or about the fact that Ken Watanabe (who, if I’m not mistaken, is the only Asian actor on the planet) wasn’t cast in any American movies this year so he couldn’t be nominated.

    Crushinator – Here’s a link to a good breakdown. Nominated whites win quite a bit more than their proportional share of the U.S. population. Nominated blacks win slightly more than their percentage of the population. All other races probably don’t need to spend too much time working on their acceptance speeches. From the data it seems to me that a smart producer would start making the Latin equivalents of movies like FRIDAY or something. Get Michael Peña, call it VIERNES. I’d watch it. Seems like a pretty untapped market.

    How racially skewed are the Oscars?

    Some revealing findings from the data since 2000

  17. What I find so much more interesting than diversity of race and ethnicity is diversity of ideas.

    Where are the new guys in the vein of Lynch, Kubrick, Waters, Nicholas Roeg, Edgar Ulmer, Jodorworsky, Goddard? Mavericks taking chances, making love it/hate it movies…but movies with vision. Even Lucas and Woody Allen I would consider mavericks (if you doubt it just think Lucas produced Mishima).

    I know new auteurs are out there here and there. James Fototopoulous is one fairly recent one. The Zelner Brothers. M. Dot Strange (yup! That’s a directors name!) You really gotta LOOK for these guys though! In the mainstream, Tarsem might count, his flicks are unique enough. I guess THE REVENANT guy fits the bill. Can’t spell his name, but his work is original, and very maverick, especially for Oscar friendly films.

    But I think what bothers me isn’t that most of those guys aren’t represented in the Oscars. Guys like that tend to be respected more later in their career. Its more that so little emphasis is put on new IDEAS these days. Directors doing NEW things either with content or technology or both. Seems like all I read about these days (other than on this site a few choice others) is franchises and hot button race issues.

    I am seeing Spike Lee’s new movie not because of his race, but because his new movie looks like a WILD MOVIE. I appreciate that audacity and support it when I can, regardless of race, religion, gender, color, creed or shoe size.

  18. i can’t believe rizzoli is isles’ imagination this whole time

  19. Jake, you make a good and interesting point.

    Though, I’ll definitely take a second to complain about Del Toro not getting nominated for Sicario. I’ve seen all the supporting actor performances and they’re all good, but Alejandro was too great a character to ignore.

  20. Charlotte Rampling was in ZARDOZ and thus gets a lifetime hall pass from me.

  21. Right, but is there some engineerable solution (that won’t produce unintended consequences) to ensure that, e.g., Indian-American or Korean-American actors will get as many nominations (or wins-to-nomination ratio) as we would expect based on population distributions of these groups? Is it racism that Indian American median income is about double the national average. I’m not trying to play Glenn Beck here, but no industry naturally sorts itself into an even representation of the population, and even though whites tend to be on the winning side of that, there are plenty of exceptional groups or industries that create problems for a simple equating of these outcomes with racism–conscious, malevolent, “unconscious,” or “instituational,” or “systemic.” Further, racism is at once such a charged and elastic term, that it really messes up the discourse. It’s a powerful word that can mean different things, and as a result it tends to result in strong, defensive emotions and misinterpretation (people talking past each other).

  22. If we’re talking SICARIO, It’s way more of a travesty that Emily Blunt didn’t get nominated than it is that Benicio didn’t get nominated. If we’re talking Latino actors who were robbed, Oscar Isaacs –who for three years running has given far and away the best performance of the year– is a far more shameful omission.

  23. Both Blunt and Del Toro got snubbed. At least the cinematography got properly recognized.

  24. Is it because Emily Blount makes you believe a hundred pound woman can be a bad ass?

  25. I haven’t seen SICARIO, so I can’t say how convincing she was as a badass, but I totally bought into her 100 pounds of badassness in EDGE OF TOMORROW. That’s saying something for me. I don’t care how much you scowl, Zoe Saldana, unless you’re painted blue or green and alien physiology can give a reason for you being strong, there is no way your little, twig arms are going to deliver a punch that would do anything more than piss off a full grown man.

  26. As much as I liked Sicario, I never though Blunt was that great in it. Other than the explanation late in the film by Brolin why she was needed on the case, you could actually remove her character from most of the film and it wiould still run the same. There were no parts in the film I thought she was a bad ass. In matter of fact all she did was get on my tits. She either moaned or was used as bait. She was used to much better effect in Edge of Tomorrow.

  27. Funny you should review this on the anniversary of me seeing it at Sundance. I’m convinced they only programmed it because they thought they could get J-Lo to show up. She did not and it may be for the best she didn’t feel the collective embarrassment for her performance. Viola Davis was there though so that’s pretty cool.

  28. “p.p.s. Sometimes I feel like I’m turning into Archie Bunker as I get older and the world evolves faster than my liberal sensibilities. I don’t want to be that so if I’m missing the point here please help me learn. Just be nice about it. We’re all friends here.”

    Ha, liberalism has left me long behind already, the problem for me is it’s more often more about emotions than reality nowadays, I’m a guy that believes that you have to face the facts sometimes even when the truth hurts, but that’s the exact opposite of today where reality doesn’t matter so long as no one gets their feelings hurt.

    And this probably does mean that the Oscars will become like the Grammies where instead of “best” movie it better translates to “most popular”, everyone will nominate what they feel is the “right” movie to win rather than what’s actually best and everyone can pat themselves on the back knowing that they’ve made people feel positive emotions and the sharp edges of our culture will continue to be shaved off in favor of not ruffling any feathers.

    Now don’t consider me some Amazing Larry type, I’ve not become a conservative, I don’t know what I am really, all I really know is that the lesson the modern day has taught me is that people are people irregardless of political leanings and what people are is flawed, so of course even liberalism is not perfect.

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